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“I still pinch myself” Jamie Vardy on the ups and downs of his rollercoaster rise Words Alex Reid Photography Tom Oldham

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rue to form, Jamie Vardy picks up a can of Coke and cracks it open as his interview with Sport begins.

He’s just finished a hard morning’s work at Leicester City’s training ground, and we’re not sure that every nutritionist would recommend this as immediate post-session recovery. But then, Vardy is a footballer who – when playing for Fleetwood Town in the Conference back in 2011/12 – developed a routine of having three cans of Monster energy drink every day ahead of training. One first thing in the morning, another two just before a session. When the club doctor expressed alarm at his caffeine intake, Vardy duly scaled back. He swapped the Monster for cans of Red Bull. Late last year, he said that his routine during the 2015/16 season, when Leicester became the least likely league champions ever and Vardy went on that 11-game

scoring streak (breaking a Premier League record in the process), was to have a glass of port the night before a game. It seems to have had little negative impact on his form. Yet given all of the above, there must have been people on Vardy’s improbable rise, from non-league striker to England international, who tried to change his ways. “Not really – I think everyone is different,” he says cheerily. “What works for me might not work for someone else. But what works for them won’t work for me. That’s just how it is. “With the port, I just had it one night – a little glass to help me to sleep. I had a great game the next day, so it kinda stuck.”

Speed demon

The mind boggles at what Arsene Wenger, who tried to sign Vardy for Arsenal over the summer, might have made of such routines. The truth is actually that while

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Vardy has adapted his lifestyle and calmed down in recent years – something that he credits to the influence of his wife Rebekah – his stamina has never been a problem through his career. Vardy trains hard and plays with devilish commitment, making up for his slight, wiry stature by harrying defenders. The obvious question is whether those years playing at Stocksbridge Park Steels for £30 a week, while working full-time in a factory or getting up at 5am as a joiner, has given him a hunger that not every academy product player can match. “It’s hard to say,” says Vardy. “But with me coming from non-league, it makes me realise what an incredible opportunity I’ve been given. You never want it to end. You want to keep trying to get better and better. “You do see youngsters getting too much too soon, then eventually they don’t make it. For me, not having that and having to work so hard to get to where I am… Maybe that does make me k

Profile for Sport Magazine

Issue 484  

The party's over - for Sport magazine, and for Leicester City. Their fleet-footed striker Jamie Vardy tells us about life after the miracle,...

Issue 484  

The party's over - for Sport magazine, and for Leicester City. Their fleet-footed striker Jamie Vardy tells us about life after the miracle,...

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